Book review: The
Theology of John Calvin
By Walter L. Taylor , The Layman, particularly in more “traditionalist” or “evangelical” circles where the Bible is held as authoritative, but where battles rage over words like “inerrancy” and “infallibility.” Partee thus shows us how careful we must be when we enlist Calvin in some of our contemporary discussions, given that some of the distinctions and categories we use to discuss this issue were not employed in the sixteenth century.
Partee’s work is principally a study of Calvin’s chief theological work, The Institutes of the Christian Religion. Thus, rather than superimposing some other structure on Calvin’s theology, he follows Calvin’s own order. Having said this, Partee does argue that one of the most important themes in Calvin’s theology is that of “union with Christ,” and thus traces this throughout the work.
While a dense work, Partee’s writing is winsome and playful, especially when he engages in polemics. For the serious reader desiring help in coming to a deeper understanding of Calvin, Partee’s book is a real gift, just in time for the 500th anniversary of Calvin’s birth.
The Rev. Walter L. Taylor is pastor of the Oak Island Presbyterian Church, Oak Island, North Carolina.